A new bar in Harlem hopes to bring an appreciation for craft beer to the black community there.

Harlem Hops is the first 100 percent black-owned craft beer bar in Harlem, and according to a profile by The Undefeated, it was birthed from inconvenience. Co-owner Kim Harris said she was sick of having to travel outside of her neighborhood to get quality beer.

“I thought, there’s something missing here,” Harris said. “And that’s when it came to me that we should do a beer bar in Harlem. That’s was one of the reasons I thought about it.”

After a failed business venture, Harris met partner Kevin Bradford in 2016. Bradford was another beer lover who was sick of making the trek. He wanted to open a bar, but was having issues securing a place due to zoning policies.

“I had to travel to Brooklyn. I had to travel these far distances to get beer I liked. I think back in 2011 or 2012 New York was not really the beer center of the East Coast. Now, New York is pretty much on the map for craft beer,” he said. “I live in Harlem, and I wanted to open a bar in my neighborhood, but the zoning was residential. I could not have a commercial space in my property. That’s when [restaurant consultant] Jason Wallace introduced myself and Kim and I was like, this is it.”

Harris brought on friend and accomplished entrepreneur Stacey Lee to round out the partnership. According to Harris, each of the three brings something different to the venture.

“When Stacey came on board, she kind of made us whole in terms of all the bits and pieces,” Harris said. “I have business sense, Kevin is focused on the beer and Stacey brings in the creativity and helps me keep my thoughts together. We’re all married to each other. We love each other. It’s the perfect combination.”

All three of them graduated from HBCUs, and the trio uses the values they learned from their alma maters to run their businesses.

“We love our HBCUs,” said Lee, who graduated from Clark Atlanta with Harris. “Historically black colleges and universities have produced some of the best and the brightest. We all graduated with STEM degrees, but we’re all doing something different. I think HBCUs taught us about humility, taught us about drive and it’s also very nurturing attending an HBCU. They have the mentality that you can do anything that you want to do. This started out as a dream with no money, no dollars and here we are about to open the first 100 percent all African American owned craft beer bar in Harlem. If you don’t have the money, find a way or make one.”

The bar will serve a variety of beers, but the owners are determined to put brewers of color on the map.

“There’s not a lot out there, but there are people of color that are very knowledgeable about beer that just haven’t had the opportunity or the funding to push their products,” Bradford, a Hampton man, said.

“There are brewers of color all over the country, and it takes time to get your distribution and things of that nature,” Harris said. “So, as they get their distribution into the New York area, then that’s when we’ll be featuring them as well. We’ve been in contact with a lot of brewers and building our own network.”